With a net gain of $4 trillion in 2022, the fossil fuels industry is thriving instead of converting
Fossil fuels are incompatible with the survival of humanity. UN Secretary Antonio Guterres made strong statements yesterday on the sidelines of the Bonn negotiations leading up to COP28.
To dispel the widespread feeling that no great progress will be made at the Dubai meeting, the United Nations Number One has sought to urge the international community. And he did so by directly targeting established interests that are slowing down climate action.
Guterres has rejected the idea that fossil companies can continue their business if they find ways to capture and store the emitted carbon underground. This practice, he said, would only make them “more efficient planet destroyers“.
The position of fossil companies is becoming increasingly critical and difficult to defend, since during the crisis they have seen their profits grow without reducing emissions. The oil and gas industry has recorded 4 trillion net earnings, yet – Guterres pointed out – “for every dollar spent on oil and gas drilling, only 4 cents went to clean energy and carbon capture”.
Then he tried to coax the giants of the sector, saying that if they invested in renewable energy all that money could continue to decide the energy fate of the planet.
When this carrot and stick game is successful, you will see in Dubai on December 12, when the COP28 will end. But to reduce the influence of lobbies on climate negotiations, their ability to infiltrate people into national delegations must be limited. One of the few good news that came out of the two weeks of discussions in Bonn, is that the United Nations Climate Office will require delegates at the COP to reveal their affiliation. However, they will not be obliged to declare who finances their participation.
The head of the United Nations has not spared criticism even of financial institutions, urging them to present detailed plans to exit from fossil fuels. According to Guterres, the plans should include an explicit strategy to phase out these assets from their portfolios and ensure alignment with the objective of climate neutrality.